Why Tinubu Is After Saraki ~ By Odilim Enwegbara [Updated]
Since Bukola Saraki became Senate President, Ahmed Tinubu has been doing everything humanly possible to remove him from that politically powerful position that makes Saraki the number three citizen of Nigeria. And in most occasions, it includes Tinubu literally playing God himself. Tinubu has publicly insisted that Saraki will never have peace as the Senate President for denying him Tinubu the second citizen position as the country’s Vice President.
Surprisingly, while fighting Saraki for denying him the second position and also for the fear that Saraki’s political rise would be detrimental to Tinubu’s position as the indisputable leader of all Yoruba speaking politicians in Nigeria, Tinubu was humiliated to have lost the Speakership which he thought as for one of his political godsons, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, who not only lost the Speakership to Yakubu Dogara but also the Deputy Speakership Hon. Yusuf Lasun, with godson allowed the mere position of Majority Leader of the House of Representatives.
As if not enough humiliation, Buhari went as far as handing to Tinubu’s former political godson, Tunde Fashola three powerful portfolios — housing, works and power — notwithstanding that it was at a time Tinubu and Fashola were throwing mud at each other. What would have been more humiliating to Tinubu that this using Fashola to spite at Tinubu?
Another unbelievable humiliation Tinubu had to stomach was that as a result of the sudden death of Prince Abubakar Audu and the inconclusiveness of the election that pointed his celebration of his victory, instead of Hon. James Abiodun Faleke, Tinubu’s godson, Alhaji Yahaya Bello, who was only second in APC’s primaries had to replace the late Audu’s deputy. Tinubu made a lot of threats but seeing how he was ignored, he quietly accepted the political coup against Faleke his political godson.
In Ondo the same humiliation continued when Rotimi Akeredolu (SAN) instead of Tinubu’s chosen candidate Segun Abraham. This coup that targeted at dismantling Tinubu’s power in the Southwest was perfectly planned and executed by two foremost Tinubu’s rivals, Tunde Fashola and Kayode Fayemi, two powerful members of Buhari cabinet who are popularly known as the ‘Southwest Buhari Boys.’
Little wonder, having learned his lessons in such a hard way, Tinubu respectfully stayed away from Ekiti State’s governorship election, when the APC candidate Kayode Fayemi, insultingly told him to mind his business by staying away from the Ekiti State politics. So humiliated was Ahmed Tinubu that he stayed away and only was allowed to come to campaign for Fayemi on Fayemi’s permission and terms.
In the meantime, in his raw determination to fight Bukola Saraki, and with the entire Senate sensing that, rallied around Saraki, making it extremely difficult for Tinubu to continue to use the power of the presidency to fight Saraki. Refusing to cave in, Tinubu, conspiring with the Presidency and the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) brought the false assets declaration case against Bukola Saraki, which the Supreme Court unanimously dismissed, insisting that the evidence by the prosecution was merely based on hearsay.
From one humiliation to another including being openly ignored by Buhari to the extent that John Odigie-Oyegun, APC National Chairman, who used to be a staunch Tinubu’s political ally began to distance himself from Tinubu as he began to ally with President Buhari in circling Tinubu political, so that his so-called National Leader of APC would only be in name, not in power display. It went so bad that Tinubu’s wife Senator Remi Tinubu, a member of APC began to lament publicly how her husband has been constantly humiliated by the same Buhari he helped to become President.
Tinubu began to criticize Buhari Administration to the extent that early 2017 he publicly announced that Nigerians who voted for Buhari in 2015 were not only losing faith in the government but also regretting their decision to have voted Buhari into power. In Tinubu’s words, “You have to spend yourself out of this recession and you cannot do that by consistently stifling the Banks of liquidity…Yes, Buhari inherited an economy in peril but his actions thereafter worsened liquidity crisis and deepened a haemorrhaging credit crunch.” That notwithstanding all the access he has to Buhari, Tinubu chose to publicly express his grievances, was only a pointer his deep-seated anger and disappointment.
But as 2019 presidential election approaches, Buhari recognised that it’s time to once again use Tinubu so it became obvious to once again court Tinubu. First, Buhari knew that Wale Tinubu’s Oando was in deep trouble for illegally and criminally inflating the values of its shares. Buhari reached to Tinubu at a time his younger brother was being questioned by the officials of the Nigerian Stock Exchange. Next, was Tinubu flying to London with Buhari and during the long trip, as a military tactician, Buhari proposed to Tinubu his readiness to hand over power to him come 2013. In the meantime, Tunde Fashola is now strategically silent and increasingly staying out of circulation this way he couldn’t make the mistake of colliding with the Asiwaju who is badly needed for Buhari’s success at the polls in 2019.
During that meeting, Tinubu made several requests, including the removal and replacement of John Odigie-Oyegun as the APC National Chairman with Comrade Adams Oshiomhole. Another important request was that Buhari should use his powerful office to humiliate and remove Bukola Saraki as the Senate President. In his efforts to pamper Tinubu, Buhari promised him that come 2023 Tinubu will succeed him. It’s on the basis of on this false promise that Tinubu became so uncontrollable in his reelection of Buhari project to the extent of sacrificing the Afenifere and the overall Yoruba and national interests.
But why can’t a political salesman like Tinubu, a politician with Tinubu’s kind of at all costs power grabbing mentality, whose lacking in political sophistication makes him an easy prey be easily deceived by Buhari the political tactician? Is Tinubu not lacking the sophistication a seasoned politician at his level should have, there’s no way wouldn’t have looked back to ask how come as soon as Buhari won the 2015 election, he began to humiliate him to the extent of positioning Tunde Fashola his arch-political enemy, including making him the most powerful minister in his cabinet? Does anyone need to remind the kind of disdain Buhari has for Tinubu’s ownership of Lagos State as if though it were his personal empire?
Most important, that Tinubu is yet to recognise that as far as Buhari’s political allies from the north are concerned, it would be a costly mistake for such power grabber from the Southwest become their President, which would mean subjecting the north to Tinubu’s long political intrigues. It’s on the basis of this coupled with his lacking leadership temperament and national outlook that they are opposed to Tinubu’s presidency.
In fact, for the Buhari led-Northern political establishment, going forward it is the best interest of the North to have young and political less ethnically ambitions Southern politicians to be in charge. And rather than Asiwaju Tinubu, the Buhari-led Northern political establishment has since identified Kayode Fayemi as its manoeuvrable politicians, who would have no difficulty taking instructions as post-Buhari successor. But there is also the problem yet to be resolved by the Northern elite, which is: how can they justify handing over power to a Southwestern politician when Southeast has not produced the president of Nigeria since 1970? This is a question yet to be resolved given that its spin-off events could include another wave of Biafra in the coming years.
In the meantime, Tinubu wants to continue his battle with Saraki. One major reason for Tinubu to dismantle Saraki’s intimidating digital political machine against Tinubu’s analogue political system was to ensure that he doesn’t not in any way to share his Yoruba speaking political base with someone like Saraki who is politically savvy.
It’s this kind of fear Tinubu is entertaining toady was the kind of fear Obasanjo entertained both in 1979 against Awolowo and in 1993 against Abiola. Like Tinubu today, Obasanjo had to do everything to curtail the two political powers since the logic was should any of the two ever preside over the affairs of Nigeria that should definitely make it difficult — if not impossible — for Obasanjo to still become Nigeria’s president.
Because Tinubu’s ambition of becoming Nigeria’s president is not hidden, there is the fear that should someone with Saraki’s powerful political background could become another Yoruba speaking president of Nigeria, his chances of becoming president would be close to zero. In other words, Tinubu’s calculation is that it will impossible at a time of rotational presidency for him to become president should Saraki first become one.
Fighting Saraki also required a trusted ally like Oshiomhole to become the National Chairman of APC. Little wonder Oshiomhole, acting Tinubu’s script has been unrelenting in his efforts to push for the impeachment of Saraki since as the ill-informed Oshiomhole has constantly insisted that the Senate Presidency is an “APC Crown.” In other words, that it belongs to APC. This has led to anger among the Senators as well as the Northern political establishment who believe that it was this rascality that caused Lawal Daura his job.
But I don’t know whether I should call it unknown to Tinubu and Oshiomhole his seasoned political attack dog, it will be difficult for his APC successfully impeach Saraki. This is because while it only requires a simple majority of Senators to elect the Senate President and his deputy, to remove the Senate President a super majority of two thirds of Senators will be required. In other words, 73 Senators are needed to impeach the Saraki, which APC does not have right now.
Of course, without having to organise a similar coup that PDP in June 2015 there is no way APC Senators can oust Saraki. That gathering at the International Conference Centre when APC Senators were supposed to be on the floor of the Senate electing their leadership, was the greatest political mistake APC made and has to with Saraki’s Senate Presidency throughout this 8th Assembly, unless it can find magic number of 73 Senators required to oust Saraki.
Because APC can never ever find the needed 73 Senators to impeach Saraki, understandably, Saraki is not perturbed, including the so-called argument that because APC is in majority in the Senate it should produce the Senate President. The Party should have done that had Saraki not been the Senate President. In fact, I continue to wonder how the ruling party wants to remove Saraki legitimately: How will Oshiomhole intend to impeach Saraki? Is he not aware that without first impeaching Saraki, APC cannot legally elect an APC Senator to replace Saraki? But to impeach the same Saraki, APC should first find the 73 Senators that should do the ousting.
For those who are arguing that after all Obasanjo was able to remove and replace Senate president at will during his eight years in office, have those making this silly argument also noted that during Obasanjo Administration, PDP had more than a super majority to oust any Senate President? Have they also forgotten that that that was a time Nigeria was emerging from military rule; and as result the country was still suffering from military kind of democracy? Today, our Senators are sophisticated and more interested in being independent without non-members intruding into their affairs.
Is that not the reason why Oshiomhole is increasingly having problem dictating to APC Senators how to go about managing their affairs in the Senate? I think that the likes of Oshiomhole are yet to understand that today’s Senators, especially with their savvy Senate President Bukola Saraki, son of one of the country’s foremost politicians, who must have learned a lot from his late dad about the complexity of Nigeria’s politics, wouldn’t be expected to a kind of pushover Chairman Oshiomhole is planning to oust. Oshiomhole is going to discover that being schooled in a state politics as a governor is far different from being a master political game player at the federal level where there are so many competing and dynamic interests.
Oshiomhole and his dispatcher will come to the painful reality that besides being a swift digital politician, Saraki has since earned for himself a statesmanship personality, which goes to give the youth credence in his ongoing fight against the old system, driven by ethnic posturing. Tinubu’s obsession with his ownership of Yoruba politics along with his sheer politics of self-aggrandisement makes it difficult for him to be successfully advertised as a nationalist. And unlike his provincial politics, Saraki is cosmopolitan.
When you listen to some Northern politicians privately they despise Tinubu’s kind of politics which to believe it is more of ethnic politics, which could be seen from how the office of the Vice President is populated by over 99% of Yoruba speaking Nigerians. This is giving them concerns about Tinubu given that Yemi Osinbanjo is known to be taking instructions from his political godfather Tinubu.
Nationalist politicians from the South are important to the Northern political establishment for fear of allowing ethnic nationalists to take over the country’s central political space. That’s the same reason why Buhari’s ethnic and religious posturing has made most members of the Northern political establishment uncomfortable.
Has Tinubu in all his political calculation ever considered that there is no someone as a religious apologist as Buhari to ever allow Tinubu, a Muslim Southerner to become his successor, who would make a Northern Christians his running mate? Having since done that calculation, understandably Buhari is already looking at Dr. Kayode Fayemi/Mallam Muhammed Bello (Minister of FCT) ticket or Kayode Fayemi/Engr. Suleiman Adamu (Water Resources who is also his nephew) ticket. Even El-Rufia as close as he is to Buhari who he only tolerates, Buhari will not hand over power to him not because he is not a Fulani politician, but because he can’t trust him to succeed him.
That explains why Buhari can’t stop laughing that Tinubu could imagine being successor in 2023. Buhari is only laughing at Tinubu for being this politically naïve in believing that Buhari is going to hand over power to someone whose lifestyle he can’t detest more, especially his well-known accumulation of wealth to the extent of being known as the owner of Lagos, where is personal companies like Alpha Beta is the one in charge of collect tax for a whole state.
This is besides making wife a Senator, his daughter the President-General of Market Women, without being a market woman, and his son-in-law a powerful member of the House of Representatives. I am sure that Tinubu will be shocked should he have access to the kind of damning dossier on him Fashola handed Buhari.
A northern friend once wondered, had the 1972 nationalization policy in Lagos which was superintended by Chief Awolowo who ensured that shares of foreign conglomerates like UAC, Nigerian Brewery, First Bank, Leventis, Lever Brothers, John Holt, etc. were distributed among Nigerians taken place at a time Tinubu was the Governor of Lagos or even today, wouldn’t Tinubu sell the whole shares to himself and members of his extended family?
But above all, since it the new political language now in town has become let young politicians take over the political scenes, it will be unlikely for APC to be thinking about how to present Tinubu as its candidate in 2023, when the young politician-seeking Nigerian electorate. By 2013, more digital politicians like Saraki will emerge and less analogue politicians will be forced to retire. In addition, if Tinubu is actually not looking so healthy today, what guarantees that his health wouldn’t deteriorate before 2023, which is inevitable as a result of an old age? After all, as we all get older, our health tends to fail.
If we are sincere and with the above dots put together, isn’t it obvious that Tinubu is showing more desperation to power at all costs than Saraki? If Tinubu has forgotten Akintola’s, Awolowo’s, Abiola’s, and Diya’s experiences in national politics, he should better get refreshed. Sacrificing Afenifere out of desperation for power and appropriating Yoruba politics by installing men and women of political like minds without any defined ideological pathway are a reminder that Tinubu is yet to come to terms with our fast changing democracy and the obsolesce the godfather politics.
We are getting to the political situation when young politicians should emerge on their own based on their excellent leadership qualities, without having to be vetted by some old politicians who having had their turn, are still obsessed with holding the stage hostage. We need the likes of Tinubu to get out of the stage so that we begin to create a political level playing field for younger leaders. Tinubu should leave Saraki alone. He should also tell his political godson Oshiomhole to stop interfering with the Senate leadership.
Enwegbara can be contacted by phone at 07038501486